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Introduction

Course introduction and description


Introduction
Welcome to EDC2100 Managing supportive learning environments. EDC2100 is a core course in the Bachelor of Education (BEDU) degree and Graduate Diploma of Learning and Teaching (GDLT) and is taken by students in the early childhood, primary, middle years secondary, special education and technical and vocational education and training specialisations. EDC2100 is all about student behaviour in the teaching-learning environment which we will define as the classroom. Over the course of this semester we will be focusing on student behaviour both good and bad. As teachers, regardless of your specialisation, you will want to encourage and support student behaviour that makes learning and teaching possible. You will also want to know how to effectively re-direct and correct behaviour that interferes and conflicts with learning and the capacity of teachers to teach. This process of encouraging the good and re-directing the not so good student behaviour is captured in the title of this course. We cannot simply expect students to behave cooperatively and appropriately without any input and guidance from the teacher. Teachers have a very important role to play in establishing standards for behaviour in the classroom. They also have a related responsibility to recognize and acknowledge behaviour that meets these standards as well as to correct and support students who have difficulty meeting behaviour expectations. This process of acknowledgement and correction is known as behaviour management or behaviour support. It is often viewed as something which is important but distinct from pedagogy. As you will quickly find in this course, pedagogy and behaviour management are very closely related and share a common goal i.e. the encouragement of behaviour that makes learning possible. Let me illustrate this relationship. Teachers know that when young children are faced with the task of learning to read their role is to teach the skills and provide the experiences students will need to have to be able to read. The same applies to behaviour. If students are expected to behave in certain ways at school and in the classroom, then teachers must teach them how to do this. The vast majority of students enjoy the school experience and while not always perfect in their behaviour, will, with teacher support and encouragement, engage with lesson tasks and activities and will derive considerable satisfaction from their school work. Some students, however, are less well disposed to engage and cooperate in the learning experience. Reasons for this are many and varied and will be addressed early in the course. Teachers will still need to support these students and to make every effort to encourage them to participate; but, when their behaviour interferes with and disrupts the work of teachers and other students it will need to be managed. The goal of this process is to re-direct the student back to more appropriate behaviour. Teachers are expected to do this in a positive and supportive manner. Look back at the example I gave earlier. When children fail to learn to read we provide remedial teaching. When children fail to behave as we expect them to, we.? Unfortunately, for some teachers the answer would be to punish them. If you think that this doesnt make sense then you are right. Now, in contemporary school education, the answer is - to teach (i.e. support) them to behave in a way that is acceptable and this is the approach taken in this course.

University of Southern Queensland

EDC2100 Managing supportive learning environments

It is possible for teachers through the use of controlling and coercive procedures to make students comply with what they want. Such compliance in this day and age, will be achieved with some difficulty and will almost certainly be temporary. The damage to teacher-student relations will not be temporary however. Teachers who take this approach find teaching to be a battle with the classroom being the battlefield. Students will view their teacher as the enemy and will respond accordingly. These are very unhappy classrooms and neither teachers nor students will derive much satisfaction from the experience. You will need to quickly come to appreciate that coercive and punitive strategies are no longer acceptable for the management of student behaviour, and for most misbehaving students they are not necessary. But, isnt Managing Supportive Learning Environments just a fancy, politically correct name for discipline and behaviour control? In a sense this is correct. The course is about managing student behaviour but that should not be interpreted as controlling student behaviour. The modern goal of behaviour management is for students to become selfregulating and self-disciplined. This cannot be achieved when students are exposed to external control throughout their school careers. Behaviour management is also not about something we do to students to change their behaviour. This view places the cause and blame for misbehaviour squarely with the student. We now have come to understand better that it is often what we want students to do (the curriculum) and how we teach (pedagogy) that is contributing to misbehaviour. So, behaviour management is as much about our behaviour (as teachers) as it is about student behaviour, and often the best solution to a behaviour problem is for us to change our behaviour. You should be beginning to sense that behaviour management is more than just having a bag of tricks to get students to comply with what we want. Behaviour management is a little more sophisticated then that. This is like saying that an engineer or doctor simply needs to choose an appropriate mathematical formula or drug to solve a problem. These professionals need to understand the context within which they are working and who they are working with; and they need to apply decision making skills and processes that can be very complex. What engineers and doctors do can have far reaching consequences and/or effects on the lives of people. I suggest that teachers can have an equally important impact on the lives of their clients (students) based on their professional decisions and actions. Managing student behaviour is as much about how we, as teachers, think about the whole teachinglearning experience in the classroom, as it is about changing behaviour. Its about our decision-making skills and insights, its about what our goals are and how these mesh with the goals of school education. Most importantly, its about how we view students and the relationships we build with them. But wont this course teach me how to manage difficult students? Yes it will and you will be introduced to strategies and procedures to help you do this. But there are a few things you will need to appreciate to make the process less frustrating but never-the-less real for you. Skill in behaviour management is not acquired overnight. It requires (1) knowledge of behaviour management strategies, (2) opportunities to practice these in safe environments (e.g. in tutorials using hypothetical case studies), (3) opportunities to apply strategies within a broader decision-making framework so that the choices made are more likely to be appropriate and effective, and (4) lots of practice in real classrooms and with real student problems. For you, this latter opportunity comes with your student teaching experiences.

University of Southern Queensland

Introduction

If you are looking for quick fixes to student behaviour problems then you are going to be frustrated and very disappointed. There are any number of behaviour management consultants out there offering quick fix advice. Theyre out there and flourishing, but not because their fixes work, but because many teachers are desperate for solutions. Invariably it is these teachers who refuse to look at themselves and how they teach and relate to students for part of the solution. No one can guarantee success in behaviour management. There are too many variables (many uncontrollable) operating that might limit success. We do know a lot about what are and are not effective practices, but we also know that changing student behaviour, particularly chronic and more serious forms of misbehaviour can be a slow and difficult process. For many difficult students, bad behaviour acquired and reinforced over many years will not be changed in a few days or weeks. Hopefully, the points made here will get you thinking about how you view student behaviour and your role in its management. Recognise that you have had many years experience in classrooms (as students) and have been exposed, for better or worse, to many different teaching and behaviour management approaches. Your parents and their parenting style have had an influence on you to. So, you dont come to this course with a blank slate. Lets hope though, you will finish this course with a much richer and more comprehensive understanding and appreciation of behaviour management and your very significant responsibilities in relation to it.

Seeking assistance
If you have questions or are unsure about any aspect of the course you are strongly encouraged to seek assistance. Most students reach a point at some time during the semester when they need information, advice or help. This is a normal part of the learning process and student journey at university. In most instances, your first port of call for help is your tutor or campus lecturer, if you are an on-campus student. For inquiries not able to be dealt with at the tutor/lecture level, or if you are enrolled in the WEB offering of the course, the course examiner is the person you need to contact. Details of the staff involved in the course will be made available to you in the first week of semester (via StudyDesk).

Course resources
Optional print If you wish to purchase a print copy of the introductory book, study book or selected readings book please contact the USQ Bookshop or phone (07) 4631 2742. Materials will be printed on demand so there may be a short delay before you receive your copy.

University of Southern Queensland

EDC2100 Managing supportive learning environments

Course structure
Mode of study
Students have the opportunity to take this course as a fully on-campus course i.e. with faceto-face teaching or as a web-based course where there is no attendance at classes. Indeed, the course is structured in a way to allow you to attend some classes but also choose to complete some parts of the course off campus. The decision about choice of mode is entirely yours. You will make this choice based on a number of factors e.g. where you reside, your employment status and commitments and hopefully your assessment as to how best you learn. Many students are able to engage effectively with course materials, information, tasks etc., working independently and away from campus. Others need and value the interaction with lecturers and students that is afforded through tutorials and other classes. The critical thing is engagement with the course, one way or another. If this does not happen, your chances of success are reduced significantly.

Course specification
A link to the EDC2100 course specification is provided here. The specification will provide you with a rationale and synopsis of the course, the course objectives, the list of topics to be covered and basic details of the assessment for the course. <http://www.usq.edu.au/course/synopses/2012/EDC2100.html>

Course modules and StudyDesk


All students, regardless of the mode of their study will have access to the course content made available through USQ StudyDesk. The StudyDesk is the primary vehicle through which the six modules that make up the course are offered. Detailed information is provided in each module about the topic(s) covered in that module. There will be embedded links to other resources, activities, quizzes, videos, readings etc. Some components of the course, such as the recorded mini lectures (Breeze or Adobe Presenter recordings) will only be available through StudyDesk. So, regardless of your mode of study, all students must access StudyDesk.

Recommended approach to study


1. If you are reading this information at the moment, you have made a good start. You may have skipped straight to the assessment requirements for the course thats fine, but you need to read all the information in the course introduction section and you need to access the course specification.

University of Southern Queensland

Introduction

2. Most students will have a student teaching practicum embedded somewhere in the semester. As such, the course is structured around 10 weeks of teaching time. The course will be structured in a sufficiently flexible manner so as to not require you having to do EDC2100 work while engaged in student teaching. Having said this, as this course is about behaviour management, your student teaching block is a wonderful opportunity for you to try out many of the strategies and procedures covered in the course. I hope you do this. 3. Your starting point in any module will be the recorded mini lecture. Averaging about 15 minutes in duration these audio to PowerPoint recordings provide you with the basic overview of the module topic plus essential information. They are the continuous and unifying thread that runs through the course tying all the bits and pieces together. Most modules will have three or four recordings. It is strongly recommended that you do not try to listen to any more than one recording in any one study period. 4. After listening to a recording, making notes and going over this material, you should then take the quiz associated with it. This does not apply to the podcasts in module 4 which have no quizzes attached to them. The quizzes consist of 10 true/false questions covering information in the recording. The quizzes dont contribute to your course grade. They are intended to provide you with feedback on how well you have understood the information presented in recordings. 5. All modules have links to one or more readings. These readings have been carefully selected to reinforce and extend your knowledge of module information. You will already be aware that there is no prescribed textbook for this course. The readings referred to above take the place of a text. The readings can be accessed by clicking on the link selected readings in the course content. This will lead you to the DiReCt site. The DiReCt link in your course page on StudyDesk (top left side) is where you will also find the readings (chapters) gleaned from selected textbooks. 6. Each module has a number of study questions and activities. There is one for each recording. These are designed to get you thinking about and working on the information, ideas and concepts introduced throughout the module. A selection of these will be used in on-campus tutorials. Students taking the course off-campus will need to work through these independently, and/or in conversation with other web based students via course discussion groups (called Forums). 7. Forums are online discussion groups where students can post comments and ask questions about course topics, study questions and activities. It is a means by which students studying off-campus can interact with other students and get feedback on their work on study questions and activities. The forum will be set up through the course page on StudyDesk. While not intended to be equivalent experiences to what students would have in a face-to-face on-campus tutorial, they are designed to help students achieve the same objectives for these tutorials. Participation in forums is not compulsory. They will be monitored by lecturers, but they will not be directed and managed by course staff. Students studying on-campus can also participate in these forums. 8. The modules provide links to the Teachers TV web site. The site has a collection of excellent videos on a range of topics including student behaviour and behaviour management. A number of specific programs have been singled out in various modules as being useful for you to view. Registration is free. As with any web site not directly under the control of USQ, we cannot guarantee your access to or the permanency of the items we identify for viewing. A good broadband internet connection is necessary to make access to the videos viable.

University of Southern Queensland

EDC2100 Managing supportive learning environments

9. All EDC courses (core courses) have large enrolments. Students come from all three campuses and enrolment can be either WEB or ONC. With such a large course there will be a constant flow of information and communications from course staff. From time to time additional course material and references will be made available (via StudyDesk). For you to stay in touch with what is happening in the course you need to visit the course page on StudyDesk regularly during each week. News items from the course examiner will be released via the StudyDesk facility and will reach you via your email address. 10. All three campuses will share the same set of materials and will complete the same course assessment. Each campus will have one or more lecturers designated to run the course on that campus. Class arrangements may vary from campus to campus. Your first port of call when you have questions or need advice is your campus lecturer. There is only one course examiner and for Semester 2, 2011 this is Dr Barry Fields. Dr Fields is available to give advice and to answer questions students may have, regardless of your home campus.

Professional standards for Queensland teachers


EDC2100 has been designed specifically to help you achieve the knowledge, skills and understandings necessary for QCOT Standard Seven Create and maintain safe and supportive learning environments. You should familiarise yourself with this standard. A link to the Professional Standards is given below: <http://www.qct.edu.au/Publications/ProfessionalStandards/ProfessionalStandardsForQldTe achers2006.pdf>

Graduate level professional standards


<http://www.qct.edu.au/standards/documents/PSQT_GradLevel_v3_Web.pdf>

Timetable
The course consists of six modules. These modules need to be studied in sequence. The modules are highly structured and the format remains consistent throughout the course. Given this, you will not need a detailed timetable specifying exactly what you need to do week by week. With students from five different specialisations undertaking the course and with student teaching blocks at different times during the semester, a detailed timetable is difficult to draw up. What you need to know is how much time (in weeks) is devoted to each module and to organise your study accordingly. Pay particular attention to the work commitments for each module (recordings, readings etc) as these will vary. Reference to StudyDesk is particularly important to help you come to a good understanding of what you need to do week by week. Of course, the other important factor is the assessment for the course. Three online quizzes are scheduled throughout the semester. The quizzes will go live and will be open for a limited time. You will need to schedule your study and your life to make sure you can complete these quizzes within the allocated time. Details of when these quizzes are scheduled and how you access them will be available on StudyDesk at the beginning of the semester.

University of Southern Queensland

Introduction

Module 1: Behaviour in context (1 week) Module 2: Organising and managing the learning environment (2 weeks) Module 3: Proactive and supportive behaviour management (2 weeks) Module 4: Establishing positive relations (2 weeks) Module 5: Understanding and managing challenging behaviour (2 weeks) Module 6: State, national and international exemplars of contemporary practice (1 week). The assessment items in the course have been chosen and will be structured in a way to assess all information covered in the course not just a narrow selection of topics and information. In addition, the quizzes will require you to engage with course information on a continuous basis throughout the semester.

Extensions
There is a strong expectation that students will manage their time carefully throughout the semester and will be able to meet all assessment due dates. Extensions are not granted for quizzes. A supplementary quiz may be made available to students who, for medical and other acceptable reasons, missed a (i.e. one) quiz. Supplementary quizzes are typically in shortanswer format covering the same topics as in the original quiz. Assignment extensions are only granted in exceptional circumstances normally for documented medical or university approved compassionate reasons. Work commitments (if you are employed while completing your university studies) and study/assessment workload are not acceptable grounds for seeking an extension. Extension requests should be made to the course examiner via email.

University of Southern Queensland